Life is about change. We can't get away from that. Nor should we want to.
I have not posted a blog since May 2012. Since that time I have been struggling to find a theme for my writing. I miss writing. I miss sharing my thoughts with others. So I asked myself what is my life really about? And it occurs to me it is about change. Movement. Hopefully progression.
Ask my children about my incurable desire to improve myself. Kate once gave me a book called "One Frog Can Make a Difference, Kermit's Guide to Life in the 90s". It was a satire on self help books. Very funny but it made me realize how I might be influencing my children perhaps in a negative way. If you look at the books on my book shelf, most of them are self help, with a little poetry and fiction thrown in. And as I think about all the books I have read, I wonder if they have made a difference.
I once complained to a therapist that I felt I had made many changes internally, but none of those changes manifested in outward changes.. I still had a weight problem, I still had a dirty house and I still wasn't writing. I wasn't completing things I started. I have no idea what he said about that.
Years later I still struggle with that question. Another question might be do you need to make the internal changes before you see behavioral changes, or can you simply engage in the behavioral changes and skip all the time consuming internal dialog? But for me, the internal changes have been important. All in all the changes internally, the changes to thought processes have made me happier, than a clean house might have, or being thin.
I have had three life defining moments,.
The first came in my therapist's office. He told me I was good at therapy. That I always came prepared, that I always followed up on things we talked about. He said he would write down points he wanted to come back to but that I always came back to them on my own and he just had to check them off his list. I don't know why this was important to me. But in that moment I had the overwhelming sense that I was O.K. That I was not in some way horribly flawed as a human being. Later in life I would learn that we are all flawed but that's O.K. I am not more or less flawed than anyone else.
The second came by way of text. An old friend repeated something I had said to him a year before. Again, nothing really important, nothing earth shaking, but again I had this overwhelming feeling that for the first time in my life I was lovable. My shell had cracked and I could feel love from another person. Not just from him, but from all the other people in my life as well.
About a year later the third one came I can't remember the trigger. Again just a sudden feeling that after all this time, at 62 I really did love myself. That not only could I now feel love from other people, I could feel love from myself, to myself. More than love, I cherished myself, I am my most favorite person to be with.
And then yesterday possible a 4th. Time will tell. Something I have struggle with my whole life. Other people's attention or non attention in no way defines who I am.
But again, all internal changes how ever important, not effecting major behaviors I want to change. Or possibly behavior has changed, but not in areas that can be easily measured.
Things I have changed in my life. I chose happiness over duty. (maybe O.K. maybe not O.K.) I became social again. I choose more the direction of my life than wait for it to happen. Certainly important things.
So what is it that I still want to change? Isn't feeling that I am O.K. not irreparably flawed, that I am loved by others and finally loving myself enough?
Well for one thing, I want to be financially solvent. Actually I would like to be rich, but right now I will settle for solvent. I would like to be thin. And I would like to write a book and have it published, even if it is self published which happens more and more these days. Those are the major things. Then there are minor things like taking better care of my teeth, keeping my house cleaner, taking more photographs, getting better at the ukulele. Oh, one other thing, get a boyfriend. That one is a little different because I have a little less control over that one.
I have come to be softer on myself. To give myself more credit for what I do accomplish than for what I don't. I have stopped beating myself up for not doing things.
In the beginning I talked about all the self help books I have read over my life time. When I read each one, I think, this is it, this is the answer, It never is, but I still feel that way each time I read something new (as long as it goes alone with my values and way of thinking). And it is true of the new book that I am reading called "Mindset, the New Psychology of Success." Brilliant. But I will save that for my next blog. Stay tuned.